Waldman, Simon A. Anglo-American Diplomacy and the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1948-51. Basingstoke, UK and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
This volume examines British and US attitudes towards the means and mechanisms for the facilitation of an Arab-Israeli reconciliation, focusing specifically on the refugee factor in diplomatic initiatives. It explains why Britain and the US were unable to reconcile the local parties to an agreement on the future of the Palestinian refugees.
Table of contents
List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
Introduction: The Palestinian Refugee Problem as an Impediment to Peace
1. The Palestine Factor in Anglo-American Post-War Middle Eastern Policy, 1945–48
2. Friends Reunited? Britain and the US Respond to the Palestinian Refugee Problem
3. Diplomatic Deadlock: The Palestine Conciliation Commission and the Palestinian Refugee Problem (Part 1)
4. Economics over Politics: The Palestine Conciliation Commission and the Palestinian Refugee Problem (Part 2)
5. Compensation: The Key to Break the Logjam?
6. The Refugee Factor in Direct Arab-Israeli Negotiations
7. The Birth of UNRWA: The Institutionalization of Failed Diplomacy
SIMON A. WALDMAN is Lecturer in Middle Eastern Studies at King’s College London, UK. He teaches the Arab-Israeli Conflict, statebuilding in the Middle East and Turkish history and politics.
“Voluntary repatriation” to a country of origin may be necessary to restore refugees’ rights, when only a country of origin will provide rights associated with citizenship. Yet, if refugees are returning because they do not have access to basic rights in a host country, their return is not voluntary according to UNHCR guidelines (1996). There is a tension between facilitating repatriation to restore rights, and ensuring that repatriation is voluntary. This article will first draw on arguments from moral philosophy to suggest an alternative policy to current UNHCR guidelines. Following this normative analysis, the article hypothesizes that, on an empirical level, a repatriation policy that attempts to only facilitate repatriation that is not coerced, out of concern for voluntariness alone, may fail both to prevent coerced returns and to restore right through repatriation. This hypothesis was then tested in the case of South Sudanese repatriation from Israel between 2009-2012.
At the end of World War II, thousands of European Jews who had found refuge in Palestine during the war sought to return to their countries of origin through a repatriation program launched by the Middle East office of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). Their repatriation was a source of conflict between the Zionist leadership in Palestine and UNRRA. The former accused the latter of encouraging Jewish return to Europe, whereas UNRRA officials accused Zionists in the Yishuv of trying to prevent repatriation and of ostracizing those opting to return. The controversy derived from conflicting ideological and political considerations regarding the role of Jewish refugees in postwar reconstruction. Yet the positions of the quarreling parties were disconnected from those of repatriation applicants, who were determined to rebuild their lives outside Palestine but conceived of postwar reconstruction mainly in material and personal rather than ideological and political terms.